Does your family celebrate Juneteenth? I only learned of it in the last few years, but am thankful my children will understand its significance much sooner.
What is it?
On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation by freeing all those who were still enslaved. President Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation more than 2 years prior, but the slaves on the far west edge of the confederacy hadn't been freed by their masters. It was on this glorious day - June 19th or "Juneteenth" - that they finally tasted their rightful freedom for the first time.
Why do we celebrate it?
Juneteenth represents the day that freedom finally came for all. It was no longer legal in America for one person to own another.
If anyone should be celebrating freedom of the oppressed, it should be Christians. While my family cannot comprehend the pain of what physical slavery would have been like, we do understand our own bondage to the cruel master of sin before Christ ransomed us with His death on the cross. We also grieve the injustices our Black brothers and sisters endured. These men and women were made in His image and treasured by God, but were bought and sold in marketplaces like cattle. God cares for the oppressed and is grieved by injustice—and because He is, we should be, too.
On Juneteenth, our Black brothers and sisters were set free. Setting people free is exactly what Jesus came to do... and so for all of these reasons, we celebrate this glorious day.
Here are some books we enjoyed reading and I would recommend to any families with children ages 5 and up (Amazon affiliate links are used below, but please check your local library first):
Picture books to read aloud:
These picture books introduce two of the key players in the rescuing and emancipation of slaves: